Dad’s Story: Snapdragons, Duct Tape, and Tomato Soup

I recently read a short piece called “Grandpa’s Story: A Comb, Penknife, and Handkerchief.”

Jack Bruschetti was born in 1999, the same year his grandfather, Leonard Carpenter, died from Alzheimer’s disease.
But 13-year-old Jack wanted to know more about his grandfather, who worked as a tire builder for BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio, where he also raised his family.
“It was very important for him to be in control at all times,” Jack’s mom, Lynne Bruschetti, said to him during a visit to StoryCorps in Atlanta. “We lived in the city, and we had very tiny yards, and he didn’t use a lawnmower. He used clippers because he wanted every blade of grass to be exactly the same height. We could play in the driveway, on the sidewalk, in the middle of the street, but we were not allowed in that showplace yard of his.”
Lynne said her father — who was 86 when he died — always kept a comb, handkerchief and penknife in his pockets.
“And the handkerchief was always clean and pressed, and he would use a handkerchief not to blow his nose but to clean. If there was like a mark on the side of our house, he would wipe it,” she recounted. “And when I was a teenager, I was starting to lose respect for your grandpa Leonard.”
Lynne said she resented her father for “always wanting to keep the house perfect and always being in control, and I was starting to realize that he wasn’t that educated.”
Carpenter became president of the board of trustees of Park United Methodist Church and served as president for a few years. When the trustees met, he would take apples.
“First he would pull out his handkerchief and he would wipe the apples and make them shiny,” said Lynne, who is 51. “And then he would pull out his penknife. And he’d always cut so that there was just one long apple peel. And as they’re arguing, he would slice the apple, put it on the penknife, and hold it out to each member of the trustees. And every meeting, they would eat apples together.
“And they started getting trust back. And so he had that ability,” she continued. “He didn’t have a lot of money. He didn’t have a lot of education. But he had that handkerchief, and he had that penknife in the trustee meetings.
“And people did start to get along. He was an important part of that.”
                             ~ Copied from (originally posted July 1, 2013)

Unlike this woman’s father, my dad is an educated man and just recently retired.  He now spends his day doing all the things on his To Do list that he hasn’t had time for. He also got involved with the local Rotary and does volunteer work all over town, from placing flags on holidays to landscaping the local park.

My dad is a funny, loyal, creative, and compassionate guy. As I tried to think of this year’s Father’s Day post, three things came to mind: Snapdragons, Duct tape, and Tomato soup.


My grandpa, Dad’s dad, had these amazing little flowers that lined his front walkway.  Fascinating yet terrifying, their little mouths opened up when you pinched them in just the right place.  Such an ironic little flower; not what one would expect. This summer, I bought my first snapdragons and put them in pots in the yard. I wish Grandpa was here to tell me what I was doing wrong, because all the little flowers have dried up and have not come back.  Still, every time I walk out my door,  I am reminded of him and I smile.

Taken from, because mine don't look anything like this!

Taken from, because mine don’t look anything like this!

 Duct Tape

What great dad doesn’t have a million uses for duct tape? It is the universal fix-it tool.  So many times my dad has come to the rescue with a trusty roll of duct tape. Most recently, he temporarily patched my front window with styrofoam and duct tape after someone shattered it into a million pieces. While it wasn’t pretty, I only had to look at it for three days while the new window was made.  There is nothing duct tape (or a dad) can’t fix.


No matter how many times things in my life shatter, my dad is always there to pick up the pieces.

Tomato Soup

My dad always saves his Campbell soup labels for the kids to take to school. He’s more of a chicken noodle kind of dad, but this story does not involve chicken noodle soup.

When I was very young and married to someone who was not quite handy, we had a problem with a second story door that kept blowing open during high winds.  We had a dresser in front of the door, so we were not worried about someone getting into the house. However, the cold air blowing in was a problem.

After waiting several days for my husband to fix the door with a sliding bolt/lock type thing (forgive me for not knowing the technical name), I decided to take matters into my own hands.   Looking around the house for something that I could wedge between the dresser and the door, I found the perfect object.  I stuck that can of tomato soup right there and there it stayed until Dad was able to fix it for me with the appropriate tools. Because of my dad, I’ve learned how to be my own problem solver. He has taught me that sometimes you just have to improvise.

I can’t ever remember a time when my dad just fixed something without me being right there watching and learning.  When I am working on things around the house, like hanging curtain rods or putting together a t.v. stand, I always think of how thankful I am for the times that he spent teaching me how to follow directions, assemble things, and use power tools. If there is one gift that a dad should give his children, it’s taking care of them, but at the same time, making sure they learn how to take care of themselves.

How perfect! Italian tomato soup for my Italian dad! Felice Giorno del Padre!

Father’s Day 2013 post: All Things Grow With Love (A Father’s Day Tribute)

Father’s Day 2012 post: Big Shoes to Fill


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